Spring Garden

A few faithful readers have reminded me that I’m overdue for a garden update. Since the backyard has burst into bloom with spring, I have to agree that it’s definitely past time. I’ll start with some orchids that are right on their spring schedules: a great purple Epidendrum and a pink & purple Bletilla.

Epidendrum flowersBletilla flowers

As for non-orchid blooms, this Sage offers a multi-sensory experience — soft, furry, pineapple-scented leaves and fuzzy, hot-pink flowers. It grows more than 5 ft tall (1.5 m) and puts on a big spring show with dozens of blooms. Little blue Forget-me-not’s return every year to the garden. The tiny flowers are great, but the seeds that follow are encased in small burrs that stubbornly attach to clothing. The small, dark red flowers belong to Pittosporum trees that line our back fence.

Salvia flowers and leavesForget-me-not flowersPittosporum flowers

In the final set of photos, the eye-catching yellow flowers are strongly scented Freesias, and the pink tubular flowers are Veltheimias. They don’t have a scent, but are definitely charming in their own right. Both Freesias and Veltheimias are corms (similar to bulbs) that are native to South Africa. They grow with winter rains, bloom in the spring, and then go dormant during the dry summer. This schedule makes them perfect for San Francisco’s Mediterranean-type climate, since the showers we had this past week will probably be the last until next winter’s rainy season. Meanwhile, it’s time for me to water the other parts of the garden that can’t wait 8 months for rain.

Freesia flowersVeltheimia flowers

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3 Comments on “Spring Garden”

  1. Gardening Facts » Blog Archive » Spring Garden Says:

    […] Spring Garden Share and Enjoy […]

  2. nancy Says:

    mmm…i love the smell of freesia

  3. Dave Says:

    The veltheimia in the last photo has a long history. I got the original plant from a plant sale at the Buckhout Greenhouses at Penn State in 1986 while I was an undergraduate. We still have the original plant and call it the “Mother Veltheimia,” because it has reproduced – we have six plants in the garden now, but I’ve given several offspring away over the years.

    I grew the original plant in a pot until 2002 when it was transplanted into the garden in San Francisco. The original plant lived in central Pennsylvania until 1989, then moved to New Orleans for ten years (where it struggled as a potted plant without the right seasons…), and finally drove across country with me in 1999 where it lived in a pot on a balcony until I got a garden.

    It has never been happier since being planted in the ground in San Francisco – our climate is almost exactly like it’s natural habitat, and it (and her children) have never missed a bloom since arriving here. It’s a great plant, and at 23+ years old, it’s a hardy one, too.